This is more of an essay than a blog post, and more personal reflection than ‘being coach’ which is where a lot of these writings have been from. It is incomplete, a work in progress and – at least as your are reading it right now is at least ‘done’ to version 1.
Yesterday I touched into a strong sense of outrage and anger, witnessing the ongoing disaster in Syria. I had no idea what to do with this apart from express it, find ways to encounter it from different angles and keep the emotion moving until what it was trying to tell me came. This morning at about 5am something arrived. It woke me up.
A few years ago when I was going through a major emotional upheaval in my life I was introduced to ‘King, Warrior, Magician, Lover’ – Lyons and Gillette’s book based on the Jungian model of the male archetypes (link to an abridged version). The parallel Female archetypes have been developed by several authors and are summarized in this article. Together they create a picture of the mature Feminine and Masculine that is instantly recognizable as the greatest of who we are as humans. They carry with them their inevitable shadows; those undeveloped (or stunted developments) that manifest in their darkest forms in the destructive aspects of humanity, and less dramatically as those aspects that are stuck in dualities which hold us back from our full expression.
There are too many examples to count in the real world of right now (21st September 2016) of the immature destructive aspects being manifest. What got me yesterday was the incredible human cost of the ongoing war in Syria. It does not take a lot of looking through the media to find many more examples staring us in the face. I will mention no names…
The Jungian Feminine/Masculine archetype models look like this (with acknowledgement to FallenAngel) :
The King and Queen are parallels – so I think this is equally applicable to Masculine and Feminine – however what I witness currently in the world out of balance on the gross scale is preponderantly in the Masculine (guys; we have work to do).
In the following I will use the King and masculine pronouns. It is the one I know best; forgive me for not attempting the linguistic acrobatics to address the Queen as well as King. I would love for a female author to provide her perspective to complement (or contradict!) my own; I do not feel adequately qualified (although I do lay claim to my own feminine) to write it and do the subject justice.
How come ‘Game of Thrones’ is so popular? The immature King is all over it – and it is a self-generating self-replicating (and multi-series) mess with a massive body count. Somehow we are fascinated. I gave up after season I; the ongoing plot appeared to be becoming overly predictable. It provides a backdrop where the mature masculine and feminine can be recognized all to briefly and then snuffed out – again and again. Interesting for a season; not a story I am enrolled in.
The incompletely developed or immature King creates a world shaped by what looks like Power, and is (I assert) not. It is Force.
Outwardly Force appears to be Power and people respond to it and label it as such. However Force has its anchor in fear and gives rise to ‘have to’ and in its extremes oppression and tragic diminishing of the other into mere objects, and acceptance of powerlessness in the face of it. The polarity of force gives rise to the Tyrant (who weilds it) and the Weakling (who avoids it). Often these two look similar; the weakling may use the language of force to defend themselves. They are stuck in the same duality.
So what of the King? This archetype holds the other archetypes in balance and is experienced as Power in a completely different transcendent paradigm to mere force. Power is enrolling. Power gives rise to leadership through Love and human connection. It is ultimately cohesive, infinitely strong, self-less.
I believe all of us integrate these archetypes in all of their forms. What manifests in our character, our actions and our influence in the world depends on what we put our focus and energy into developing. Where people have highly developed the mature forms of the archetypes it is blindingly (as in, the light shines out) obvious.
Perhaps all of this is obvious.
What I want to communicate is that there is a deliberate process we can go through to recognize these archectypes within our lives and do the work (play! liberation!) required to bring the mature aspects to the fore and have them in the driving seats of our lives.
What hooked me yesterday – my weakling. It recognizes and projects the Tyrant out into the world, reinforcing its own sense of powerlessness. I experience this duality through anger. The recognition that this is what was going on involved me taking a trip through my anger and rage, getting to a place where all that liberated energy (behind the anger) could find a creative outlet.
And what I see is there is a way for me to bring this forward, to inform my coaching and move me in the direction I need to go to further develop my own King; my leadership, my passion – harnessing all of me; Warrior, Magician – and yes, Lover.
Feels like another layer of this journey is just beginning.